He was a little guy. His arm had gone black. I didn’t see his face. He was one of the people I looked after and hoped wouldn’t die but did anyway.

I’m not going to say ‘service user’ for a while.

This is personal, attached, human. A little man died face down in his room alone. His sister came by and was worried. 15 minutes either side of that death and we couldn’t have helped him but it doesn’t stop me feeling like I should have checked the room earlier.

I am sitting back in my office alone this morning, the day after I found him. Nothing is different about my day. I asked for the day off and am told that I can go home at noon, once I’ve given all the other people I look after a chance to come and talk to me. I don’t know what I’ll say.

I could say that I didn’t think for a minute that he was the first client I would find face down in his room. That the smell of a dead body doesn’t leave your nostrils for several hours and the brains natural reaction to death is to close the door and run as fast as it can away from the corpse. They call this an acute stress reaction. I could say a lot of things but the expression on my face should be enough.

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